FROM THE PLANET: WISHING YOU ALL A HAPPY, JOYOUS EASTER … NEXT WEEK: MORE ON MONTEROSSO SAGA … PLANET CALLED IT ON SABOURIN (THE FIX WAS IN) … MAYOR SENDS BUS BORROWING BACK TO COUNCIL (COULD SOMEONE HAVE CAVED?) … plus … BIANCHI TO GIVE HIMSELF A HUGE PAY RAISE … TULLY STATEMENT ON BUS VOTE
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, EASTER WEEKEND, APRIL 18-20, 2014) — In honor of Good Friday, there will be no “regular” edition of THE PLANET. Instead, we will present a brief look ahead to next week.
May we take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a Happy Easter.
————— 00000 —————–
— Be sure to check out THE PLANET next week. We shall have updates on the situation of William Monterosso at Berkshire Works. THE PLANET has found out more, despite the mayor’s frantic efforts to put a seal on this story. Do you remember when you forgot to refrigerate the fish heads, and they were left out for seven days? That’s what this one smells like.
— We will also be telling you, as THE PLANET predicted weeks ago, that Bianchi shall put Julie Berkowitz Sabourin forward as his chief lackey, a.k.a., “director of administrative services.” The city council votes on her nomination on Tuesday. Sabourin was Bianchi’s chief mandarin in The Scopes Monkey Trial, which evidence suggests was orchestrated by Bianchi to punish school committee member Terry Kinnas. There was no honest search for a position that became open when Mary McGinnis resigned for what sources claim were her misgivings about Bianchi’s attitude toward race, specifically blacks. As we told you, “The Fix Was and Still Is In.” Looks like BIanchi gave Berkowitz Sabourin this plum for her loyalty as a good bund member for her work on the Monkey Trial. Of course, we could be wring … wrang … wrung … er … wrong about that, too. On her resume, Sabourin says of herself: “Resourceful leader adept at implementing high-profile programs targeted for diverse constituencies.” Whatever the hell that means. THE PLANET takes a guess, being as how she will be working for Dan Bianchi, that “diverse constituencies” will not include “Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski,” The Little Guy, regular folks, or bedraggled taxpayers.
— Also on Tuesday, the mayor’s request to borrow nearly $3 million for a new bus fleet magically comes back a mere two weeks after the council defeated it! Expect some “funny business.” Gee, could city sol Kathy Degnan have “ruled” that Nick Caccamo can vote? Could that be why she refused to see THE PLANET when we dropped by Tuesday for a friendly visit? Or maybe one among the three who voted against the foolish borrowing plan “got their minds right” and will now say that voting to borrow more money for a needless purchase is for “The Children?”
— Oh yeah, and it looks like Bianchi will be getting a huge pay raise as part of the changes in the new charter. He’s making about $87,000 now. The new range will be a “minimum” of $92,213 to “exceeding” $119,887. Guess the mayor thinks he’s been the pig’s oink and needs more dough for all that part-time ribbon cutting and certificate awarding. Think of that the next time your boss in the Dreaded Private Sector tells you to “stop bitching” that your pay is frozen again for the fourth year in a row and to “Be grateful you got a job at all.” That’s not how it works on the Gravy Train.
As you can see, there will be a lot popping on THE PLANET. Stay with us. We’re the only game in town.
THE PLANET would also like to include the following remarks from Lisa Tully, explaining to her Ward 1 constituents why she did not support the mayor’s borrowing request for new buses. THE PLANET inadvertently left it out of the story a couple of days ago, in which we published remarks from Tully, Kevin Morandi, and others on the bus vote.
Some conspiracy theorists cited that as proof that THE PLANET was somehow “up to something” with the omission. Yes, it’s not easy being us, sometimes, when every move we make in support of or against a position or matter of public policy is scrutinized, judged, dissected, micro-analyzed, briefed, and debriefed. Ah, but that is OK, too, because it means we have an audience.
——- 000 ——-
From: Tully, Lisa
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2014 12:17 PM
Subject: Pittsfield School Bus Fleet
Dear Ward 1 Constituents,
As you may have read in the Berkshire Eagle, at Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting, I voted against the City’s request to obtain a $2.7M bond to purchase an entire new school bus fleet. Contrary to what the Eagle editorialized; I did not vote against the $2.7M bond it because I drive a 10 year old car.
I voted against the bond because the school department did not provide any research indicating that this is the most cost effective process to maintaining a school bus fleet.
Through my research, I found that the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, in their school bus replacement consideration document recommends a 12 to 15 year replacement life. (Download the document here http://www.nasdpts.org/Vehicles/Procurement.html ) Also the State of Indiana mandates a minimum 12 year life before replacement; and South Carolina adopted a 15 year, 250,000 mile cycle.
I took the individual bus figures from their bid and put together a very simple replacement plan based on mileage, (attached). I know that I am not an expert, but a yearly replacement plan of a certain number of buses seems feasible to me over the next 5 years. The school department could not provide any documentation as to why this approach is not cost effective.
I am very concerned that a new bond is not the best approach for the following reasons:
1) The school department did not budget for yearly bus replacements as was promised in 2006 when the City bought the existing fleet, for which we still owe $1.5M until 2020.
2) To the best of my knowledge, there is no mechanism to require the school department to budget for this new bond repayment, and it could fall on the City’s budget to repay.
3) I feel we should use the residual life of the current fleet for the next 5 years, replacing the buses in the worst condition first.
I would be happy to hear your thoughts and concerns so please feel free to respond to this email.
——- 000 ——-
With all of that, Happy Easter, everybody.
“There is no moon above when love is far away, too, till it comes true that you love me as I love you.” — “How High the Moon,” Ella Fiztgerald, Les Paul & Mary Ford, and other artists.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.